If you are interested in expanding your horizon and traveling to a world and time beyond your comfort zone, then take a journey with Anjali Chinak, the precocious daughter of a brilliant Khmer detective, who aspires to be a sleuth just like her worldly father. Travel with her to witness the beauty of Khmer people, their culture, language, tradition, and discover what life generally is like in the French colonial Cambodge, specifically in 1920’s Siem Reap. See the movers and shakers of this town and society. Meet the different groups of people occupying Siem Reap—a place of majestic Khmer ruins and opulent French-colonial edifices. Bear witness to how they treat their fellow human beings. Admire the clothes they wear. Be in awe of their technologies. See what delights and entertains them.Read more..
My above summary actually seems a bit complicated, and, to be honest, I passed on reading this book several times because I thought that I would not be able to follow the complex story-line as it is written in the book’s description. However, in reality, the plot is rather simple, easy to follow, and nicely paced. The Cambodian names and occasional French words that come up throughout the text are presented in a clear, smooth manner that makes it easy to understand, even for those of us who have absolutely no background knowledge of either of these languages or cultures. In fact, learning the history and culture of this nation was my favorite part of this book, and I’m normally not a fan of historical fiction at all.
The lessons presented in this book are timeless and extend beyond all cultural and geographical boundaries. Pre-determined hatred and judgment based on arbitrary factors such as race, social status, and economic class were daily themes in the lives of the Khmer people, and I strongly appreciated the way that such themes were presented in this text: believable, unbiased, and straight-forward. Some people might be turned off by such themes and view them as racist (I won’t go into the specific details of why I claim this, so you’ll just have to trust me), but I find it to be quite the opposite. I would love to see more representation of different races and cultures in modern literature, and The Governor’s Daughter is the perfect start. We totally need more books like this in the world.Read more..